ABI Research recently released a report 'What to Watch For in 2013 and the Years Beyond'. The report highlights 5 core initiatives and developments that its authors believe are likely to shape the telecommunications landscape in 2013.
Several of these developments have key implications for the small cells' universe. For example, in position 1, the report's authors cited impending competition for bandwidth, and attendant quality of service issues. Specifically, according to the report's authors, OTT services, such as Netflix, Hulu, Redbox, and others, will continue to grow exponentially, leading industry players to battle to retain existing subscribers and gain new subscribers by improving their service offerings. Moreover, the authors note, the impact of Google as a high-speed fiber broadband service provider in the United States, has the potential to drive other service providers to bump up their value offerings by 2013-2014.
Another core development noted by the report's authors is in the area of wireless backhaul. According to ABI, the rise of heterogeneous and small cell network architectures, will lead to the increased proliferation of access nodes within networks, possibly at a rate of five to ten times the number that we have traditionally seen. As a result, authors note, finding solutions for the backhauling of access nodes is becoming an important, and under current market circumstances, the authors believe, we are likely to end up with a grid-like structure, with hierarchies of macro, micro, pico, and, possibly, even femtocells backhauling to the core network.